Saturday, April 8, 2017

Some Notes on Laterite.

Laterite shouldn't effect your GH, KH or PH but it could raise the iron levels considerably if it is used wrong. The best way to use it is to put a thin layer, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the very bottom of the tank & then to cover it with 2 1/2 - 3 inches of sand or fine gravel. This traps the laterite underneath the gravel & limits how much iron it can leach into the water column, if it leaches any at all. If you use gravel over laterite you should make sure that the grain size of the gravel is under 4mm or the laterite can still leach through the large spaces in between particles. Be aware that once you have planted a tank with laterite in it, it is not a good idea to move your plants about. Moving plants in a tank containing laterite can very quickly make your tank look like you have filled it with coffee.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Best Practices: Setting up an Aquarium.

1. Width:
    Try to keep the width between 12-14 inches. This forces the fishes to swim near the glass. That way you have a closer view of them. If you have a large width, they can remain at the back side of the aquarium and you cannot have a closer look at them unless they come forward.

2. Height:
     If you are planning a low-tech planted aquarium then see to it that the water column is max 12-14 inches. This will reduce your needs for having powerful lights. You will be having 2-3 inches of gravel at the bottom and would leave around 2-3 inches of air column at the top. So the final height comes to 18-20 inches.

3. If you are going to use a tube-light with shades, You cannot place them very close to the water surface because it may not cover the whole bottom. So plan that according to you tank size.

4. If you have larger aquariums (4+ feet) then do buy an automatic feeder. It will help you a lot in the long run. DIY Automatic Feeder are economical and practical for small aquariums only.  

5. Buy a filter which creates a steady stream of water movement.

5. When you are placing the gravel/sand at the bottom, make it sloping from back to the front. So that all the solid waste comes to the front and it makes easier to clean/vacuum.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pigeon(Rock Dove) Life-cycle.

You are going to see how a pigeon life begins and how they get ready to fly.

On 15-Mar-2015, a pigeon couple laid their eggs in my balcony. In 2 months, the pigeons squabs had grow and left their home. Here are some pics. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!!

This will be my last blog for this year. Just blogging to increase the blog count for this year.:)

It’s really awkward, I have been so busy that I could just blog one post for this whole year. Just wondering now what was I doing the whole year. :)

The Aquarium is doing fine and is currently on auto pilot. I could not devote time to come up with my DIY fish feeder and just happen to buy one online. I have some baby Apple snails growing up.

Most of the plants are doing okay. I am still have a hard time with Java Fern. They just don't seem to be growing.

The Lawn is all gone, just a few Pygmy chain swords remaining. I need to rethink about how to get these up and running once again. I think the Co2 is the culprit, but not sure. It also could be the Light. The Amazon Sword have out grown with leaves going aerial.

Too lazy to take pics. I will post a them next year!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How To Control Snail Population in a Planted Aquarium.

I have been maintain a 5-Foot Walstad Type Natural Planted Aquarium from last few years. 

Scalability and Flexibility always creates a problem when the task gets huge. The problem with maintaining a large aquarium is you don’t get the liberty of just flushing out all the water and cleaning everything. The problem definition is a bit difficult and complex. So the solution also has to be a bit different and un-orthodox.

A year back, I had got some new Amazon swords from a local shop and with them came some super tiny Ramshorn snails (max. adult size < 5 mm) and some super tiny black apple snail (max. adult size < 5 mm).

Ramshorn Snail.

                                                  Black Apple Snail.

Initially I was happy, since they will add to my Algae cleaning crew. But very soon, I got disappointed since these snails multiplied exponentially. Being a Walstad setup, I could not risk using any chemical weapons against these snails.

Manually killing/removing, lesser feeding cycle, were the only options which did not give any appreciable results.

Accidentally a neighbour of mine gave me a 2-inch gold fish. Some friend of theirs was relocating out of town and therefore was giving out all their fishes. As per my understanding, Gold Fishes and Planted Aquarium don’t go well. Gold fish tend to eat away most of the plants. I could not deny my neighbour and since it was a tiny 2-inch Gold fish, I let it in. 

My plants had grown up in jungle, so having a small gold fish should not create much of any issue.

Days went by and I was minutely watching the Gold fish behaviour and the plants. I did see the Gold Fish nibbling out here and there, but it seemed to be eating the decaying leaves/plant matter.

Almost a month went by and I suddenly realized that the snail population (ramshorn and tiny black apple snails) had dropped drastically. I was literally scratching my head trying to identify if there was some change in my Aquarium routine. But unfortunately no!! I had my same Aquarium routine. 

I thought that possibly the Gold Fish must have something to do with it. But I never saw it aggressively getting after these snails. Even Google didn’t say anything about Gold fish eating snails. I was a bit skeptical about my inferences. 

For some reason, I had to move this gold fish in my secondary tank which I used mainly was some miscellaneous stuff. It also had the snail problem and viola, around a month later there are almost no snails. 

So Gold Fish is your ultimate weapon for controlling your unwanted snail population. But I still think Gold Fish do eat plants, possibly when there is not too much of food for him.

Note: My Orange Apple snails were un-harmed, possibly because they were too big for the gold fish to handle.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Walstad Aquarium - 1 Year Later.

Its been almost 1 year now with the new aquarium setup. And things have now got stabilized with lush green growth every where. I am now actually getting bored to update this blog because there is nothing interesting happening. Everything is going just going smooth, touchwood!!

No Masive Algae problems!! No browning of glass due to Brown Algae!!

I need to rethink whats next. Here are a few things I am planning to consider:

1. No Algae Regime: Increase the 10% water change from monthly to weekly basis. The objective is to get rid of all the minute growth of Brown Algae. I am not sure if its worth the effort.

2. Re-design a new Automatic Fish Food Feeder: Here I am planning to get hands dirty with low level electronic ICs, stepper motors/relays and things like that.

Anyway here are the pics:

Walstad Aquarium - Full View.
Note: Around 5 Amazon Sword Plants have been added. they have added filled the vacuum at various places.

Aquarium - Center View.

Aquarium - Left Hand Side View.

Aquarium - Right Hand Side View.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

9 - Months - Progression Gallery.

Its 9 months now since the new setup was performed during Sep 2012.

Here are some pics:

Sep-2012: Initial Setup. 
Jan-2013: Not so encouraging Setup. :(

Jul-2013: Lush Growth. :)

1. Added 3 new Angels fishes (Qty-4) a few days back.
2. Added Red Tail Sharks (Qty-7) around 2 months back. 
3. Added Crypt (Qty-1) around 2-weeks back and they are doing really great. I am impressed with their growth.
4. Also added Bacopa, But not that impressive growth.
5. Java Fern is still stagnating. I have ran out of ideas now. :(
6. Dead Fishes: Some Angels, Neon Rainbow, Serpae Tetra. :(

Aquarium Center.

The Lawn.

Left Side.

Left Side.

Right Side.

My Learnings:

1. Its all about CO2: CO2 (Carbon dioxide) is the most deficient nutrient for most Walstad style (Low-Tech) Natural Planted Aquarium. My 3 months results were not that encouraging. Adding lots of plants in the initial setup could have solved my problem. But since there wasn't too much many of aquatic plants, I had a tough time bringing up this aquarium.

Just 3 months back I have started Glut dosing and I am happy with the results. I was able to multiply my plants in no time.

2. Control the Algae: I had a hard time trying to control the deaded Brown Algae. But Glut dosing ans monthly siphoning of 15% water has brought things in control. 

Also the filter (running for 5 hrs Daily [overnight]) also is helping.

I am expecting that my lush green growth of aquatic plants will help me to get to a state of almost no algae.